Plastic bags have a wide range of uses in our daily lives. They’re easy to create from oil and we use them to contain and transport goods such as foods, produce, powders, ice, magazines, comic books, chemicals and waste. It’s hard to imagine your frozen peas coming in anything other than a plastic bag.
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But since the 1960s, consumers world-wide have used one type of bag more frequently and with greater throw-away mentality than any other: the single-use bag used to carrying items from the store to the home. In the last decade or so we have cottoned on to how disasterous these bags are for our environment. In a single year, we use over 1 trillion of them – enough to entirely wrap the world tens of thousands of times over – and we only recycle 1% of these. Many regions around the world have adopted plastic-bag tax measures (Wales has had far-reaching success) or even banned their usagealtogether (San Fransisco Ireland and Toronto, for example.) In Bangladesh plastic bags have been banned since 2002, after being found to be responsible for the 1988 and 1998 floods that submerged most of the country.
From the looks of it, we need to continue to place pressure on our policy makers, our supermarkets and our friends to act on this issue.